Backed by Rep. Heath Shuler, D-Waynesville, a recently passed federal bill (H.R. 1002) will allow the U.S. Forest Service to buy 88 private acres for better public access to Catawba Falls in McDowell County. With the purchase, the Forest Service can expand the trailhead to the falls and possibly create a parking area.
“The public should have access to spectacular Catawaba Falls,” says Shuler. Current access is limited to a steep and rugged wooded area. “This bill not only opens the falls to hikers, fisherman and hunters, but will help the economy of McDowell County,” Shuler adds.
The bill also adjust the Pisgah National Forest boundaries, adding 233 acres already owned by the federal government. Funding for the Catawba Falls-related purchase — about $713,000 — is in the 2010 Interior Department appropriation bill. H.R. 1002 must be passed by the Senate before it can be signed into law.
McDowell County Manager Chuck Abernathy remarks, “Catawba Falls is a tremendous resource for [the] county. We are most appreciative and excited about access to the falls being permanently obtained.
For more information, click here for the McDowell News article.